We hear it everywhere: Berlin is THE place to be for contemporary art in Europe! Young, open-minded, dynamic and offbeat, everything can happen in Berlin and “underground” is the word in every mouth. Many internationally-renowned artists have chosen this city to live and work/establish their studio such as Wolfgang Tillmanns, Olafur Eliasson, and Daniel Richter to name a few.
Here are a few places that Artsper has selected for you to get your share of contemporary art during your vacations !
The Hamburger Bahnhof is a former train station that once ran between the capital and the Hanseatic city of Hamburg. Now it turned into a museum of contemporary art. The combination between a historic building and a modern architecture in 10,000 square meters makes up for the ideal place to host a modern art collection with artists such as Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring, as well as more innovative artists from the contemporary art scene.
The works exhibited mainly come from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin collection and the private collection of Erich Marx.
In 1997, the museum organized its first major exhibition on Sigmar Polke. Then in 2004, the museum significantly expanded to accommodate the collection of Friedrich Christian Flick as a long-term loan.
Today, it is one of the widest exhibition spaces and most significant public collections of contemporary art in the world.
The KW Institute for Contemporary Art is an open and collaborative place dedicated to the production and promotion of advanced contemporary art in collaboration with artists and international institutions. Through its exhibition and artistic events, it is a platform reflecting the latest of national as well as international contemporary culture.
Built in the 1990’s in a former margarine factory, the KW Institute does not have its own collection, which makes it very flexible in its programming and the audience it targets. Since 1996, the KW Institute hosts the contemporary art Biennale of Berlin.
The Boros collection-Sammlung Boros
The Boros collection is inside the famous “bunker of Berlin”. It’s a former air-raid shelter built during WWII, abandoned at the end of combat, and turned later on into a nightclub. It is now a museum of contemporary art. Christian de Boros, owner of a major German advertisement agency, bought the bunker in 2003. After that he had it refurbished into a penthouse on the top floor and transformed the rest of the building into a contemporary art museum in order to exhibit the pieces of his private collection comprised of sculptures and installations. He also asked many worldwide artists, such as Ai Wei Wei, Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anselm Reyle and Cosima van Bonin to create pieces specifically for this unusual space.
Collection Sammlung Hoffman
Erika and Rolf Hoffman arrived in Berlin soon after the reunification in 1990. Very soon after, wanted to give their private collection a proper home. Therefore they chose a former sewing machine factory in the Mitte district and opened the doors of their collection for the public to see every Saturday. Started in 1960, the collection Sammlung Hoffman consists of artists from very diverse horizons such as famous American artists Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman and Mike Kelley, but German artists from Group ZERO like Heinz Mack, and Otto Piene, or artists from East Europe and Asia like Hiroshi Sugimoto and Olga Chernysheva.
Entirely not-for-profit and managed by artists, this place is a must-see of Berlin’s alternative cultural life. Only open since 2009, the Grimmuseum is the epitome of the open-minded art center. It offers exhibitions, artist residencies, travelling exhibitions and performances focusing on the most avant-garde emerging artists of the Berlin art scene.
The Berlinische Galerie was created in 1975 to exclusively showcase art from Berlin. It also opened to international art movements starting in the 70’s. Such as the Secession with Max Liebermann for example, or the expressionists with Otto Dix and Georg Grosz, the New Objectivity, and the avant-garde from East-Europe as well as conceptual and multimedia contemporary art.
Neue National Galerie
The Neue National Galerie opened in 1986 as a duo with the Alte Nationalgalerie exhibiting classical art. Its collection, even though damaged by the Nazis and their hunt of “degenerate art” during WWII, consists of a large selection of works from the 20th century in Europe and United States. Therefore with artists from the Die Brücke group, cubism, surrealism, the 50s and 60s. For example among them: Ferdinand Hodler, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol.
Morover, the building is surrounded by sculptures by Henry Moore, Richard Serra or Alexander Calder.
Berlin Art Week
For those who have planned to go on vacation outside of school breaks, Berlin Art Week will be going on from September 9th to 13th. This event gathers a large number of art fairs and events in most of the places mentioned above.
In deed, last year, Berlin Art Week attracted over 80,000 visitors. This event contributes to the city being a key spot of the art market!
Street Art Tour
You might have heard about the mysterious overnight disappearance of the famous wall by the street artist Blu two years ago… The artist himself, author of the a large mural near a wasteland in the district of Kreuzberg, had his piece painted over in the night of December 11th to 12th in order to protest against estate developers’ project to build the area over.
If this notorious piece has disappeared, Berlin remains one of the most vital spots for street art in Europe, since it is the heart of alternative culture.
Street art tours are now booming in capital cities all over Europe. Therefore the concept is simple: you, a bunch of intrigued and open-minded tourists and locals, and a guide who knows where to find the most freshly painted walls and the best-hidden pieces. Blu, Roa, Augustine Kofie, MTO, Os Gemeos and Vhils are some of the street artists who have left their mark on the town.